Tele2, Elisa to also shut-down 3G networks

Radio mast with Tallinn's TV Tower visible in the background.
Radio mast with Tallinn's TV Tower visible in the background. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Two other cellphone operators in Estonia are joining Telia in announcing the closure of their third-generation (3G) networks.

Tele2 and Elisa Eesti have also taken the decision to close their 3G networks, which,  deputy head of the Ministry of Economic Affairs' communication department Mart Laas said, is a business decision, due to 3G now being one of the most expensive technologies in terms of maintenance and use efficiency.

Laas said: "It is important to add that the closure of 3G networks is in no way stipulated by legislation, but a business decision of the communication companies."

Tele-2 technology director Tanel Sarri told ERR that the closure: "Will most likely happen by the end of 2025," later than Telia's schedule, which should be next year.

"The 3G network has already been closed in many parts of the world, so the fact that it is also being done in Estonia is part of the natural course of things," he went on.

Faster mobile data communication, which 3G cannot provide alongside other networks, has also been a consideration.

Meanwhile Kristo Korg, area manager of Elisa's mobile networks, confirmed Elisa's 3G network closure is one of the company's major strategic actions for the near future, though a definite schedule is not yet in place, he said.

The hardware used in the 3G network, the frequency resource, as well as the basic services offered, will rapidly move to the use of 4G and 5G technology in the future, he added.

Only the network generations and frequency ranges whereby a service is offered to customers will change, Korg said.

Telia said last week that it would close its 3G network in late 2023, and will be offering affected customers newer handsets.

The three companies were the winning bidders across three rounds of auctions for Estonia's 5G network, with Lithuanian firm Bite the only other company in the hunt.

Tele2 paid €1.6 million for its network, which it won at auction in late July. Telia paid €8.5 million earlier in July, while Elise won the first auction, while Elisa paid €7.2 million in May, for its 5G network.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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